Daesh is back in a big way, spreading death, terror and chaos. This time, it was a coordinated attack that began with two suicide bombers blowing themselves up at the gates of the Gweiran prison. About 10,000 alleged Daesh members are being held in jails across northeastern Syria run by US-backed Kurdish forces. And the overcrowded Gweiran jail is the biggest detention facility in northeast Syria, housing more than 3,000 suspects. In addition to this, about 800 children are also being detained here.
While the issue of Daesh had been put on the backburner and the group has increasingly been seen as a spent force, the attack on the prison is a reminder of the clear and present danger posed by the terror organisation and the extremist ideology that sustains it.
The attack itself should not come as a surprise, but the scale of the raid from outside the prison should give us serious cause for concern. The brazen attack is the most sophisticated operation carried out by the group since it was defeated in Syria three years ago.
Waiting for an opportunity
It shows us that Daesh is out there, and only waiting for an opportunity to strike. No one should underestimate its resolve to regroup and try to seize territory in areas where it has been active in the past. Policymakers must take note: Daesh has rebuilt its combat ability more than previously thought.
Another important point to bear in mind is the tactic. Freeing convicts and jailed members is a strategy the group has used to devastating effect in the past, especially when it first really burst on to the scene in Iraq in 2014. At that time, it had carried out several jail breaks.
Reports suggest that the fighting inside and near the jail has killed 181 people since Thursday, including 124 Daesh terrorists, 50 Kurdish fighters and seven civilians.
Efforts to finish the current standoff are also being hampered by the presence of almost 900 children inside the jail. Varying accounts suggest many have been killed or badly wounded in the fighting.
Audio messages being sent out to aid groups from children inside paint a very grim picture of the death and destruction inside. Daesh and its crazed violent ideology is responsible for this crime.